Just How Gay Was Abraham Lincoln?

‘Tish says, ‘there is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the president, drives with him, and when Mrs. L is not home, sleeps with him.’ What stuff!”

— Virginia Woodbury Fox, November 16, 1862

Without having seen the Oscar warhorse that is, apparently, Spielberg’s Lincoln, if I were a gay activist of any kind, I might take issue with the fact that the film’s writer, Tony Kushner, has overlooked what to me is pretty clear evidence that President Lincoln was one of them there closeted, bathroom-stall toe-tapping Republicans.  Given the quotation above from the diary of the wife of Gustavus Fox, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy during the Civil War, I’m not sure he was even that closeted.

The reason I would take issue is that Kushner is a highly political Ghey, the author of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, a brilliant epic about the early years of the AIDS Crisis, for which he rightly received the Pulitzer in 1993.  Kushner has been married to his partner, Entertainment Weekly Mark Harris, for nearly ten years, a fact that might have pleased the teen Lincoln when he penned this ribald poem:

I will tell you a Joke about Jewel and Mary
It is neither a Joke nor a Story
For Rubin and Charles has married two girls
But Billy has married a boy
The girlies he had tried on every Side
But none could he get to agree
All was in vain he went home again
And since that is married to Natty
So Billy and Natty agreed very well
And mama’s well pleased at the match
The egg it is laid but Natty’s afraid
The Shell is So Soft that it never will hatch
But Betsy she said you Cursed bald head
My Suitor you never Can be
Beside your low crotch [slang for big penis] proclaims you a botch
And that never Can serve for me